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Pregnancy Termination

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If you have a pet that has not been sterilized then the fact is that pregnancy can happen. Many pet owners face this truth every day as they find themselves with a pregnant pet. For this reason, pregnancy termination is an important topic. Obviously, the best approach is prevention and you should have your pets spayed or neutered if you are not prepared to deal with a litter of puppies or kittens. Still, your pet may already be pregnant so you’re considering other options. In addition, you may actually want to breed your pet but have encountered a situation where pregnancy is detrimental to your pet’s health or your pet has been with an undesirable mate (i.e. in cases where you’re trying to breed pure breeds).

Process of Termination

One of the most common pregnancy termination methods in dogs is the use of prostaglandin F (PGF). PGF is a hormone that is known to induce the breakdown of specialized ovarian tissue. In addition, PGF interferes with the activity of progesterone (which is required for healthy fetal development) and this interference leads to the death of the fetus. Also, PGF is thought to stimulate uterine contractions and therefore promotes the abortion of the fetus.

The typical treatment plan involves twice daily injections of PGF over the course of 4 days. During the treatment, your pet should be monitored closely. Your veterinarian will want to monitor the animal until the termination of the fetus has been confirmed. In addition, there are a number of negative side effects associated with PGF treatment. Firstly, you might notice vomiting, excessive panting, cramping, and abnormal salivation and defecation. You can reduce these effects by walking your pet as soon as treatment has been delivered. Usually, PGF treatment will be conducted in a veterinary hospital or clinic in order to watch for these negative side effects.

Another treatment for terminating pregnancy is the use of dopamine agonists. Most termination treatments focus on breaking down the corpus luteum which is necessary to support fetal development. Prolactin is a hormone that is required to maintain the health of the corpus luteum. Dopamine agonists act to suppress the secretion of prolactin and can lead to the breakdown of the corpus luteum and ultimate termination of the pregnancy. This treatment method is most effective after 25 days of pregnancy. Similar to PGF treatment, dopamine agonists often cause side effects like vomiting.

Epostane is a drug that inhibits the conversion of pregnenolone to progesterone. After 7 days of epostane treatment, there is not enough progesterone to maintain the corpus luteum and the fetus dies. Epostane has become a popular pregnancy termination treatment method as adverse side effects are minimal.


Regardless of your reasons for terminating your pet’s pregnancy there are a number of treatment options available to you. It is important to discuss these options with your veterinarian as each of these treatments works best at particular stages of the pregnancy and have different adverse side effects. Your vet is the most qualified individual in helping you make the right decision for your pet.

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